The Woodlands Highlanders
St. John’s Mavs
Langham Creek Lobos
The Woodlands DII
After over a decade, Houston is back on the lacrosse state map.
The Woodlands carried the torch for Houston-area lacrosse and finally took down Dallas to win the 2018 state title.
“I think I received over 250 text messages from people I’ve never met before congratulating us for representing Houston,” The Woodlands coach Keith Tindle said. “We battle each other during the regular season, but we felt like everyone was on our side going into the state tournament.
“The support was tremendous.”
The Highlanders graduated 16 seniors and several went on to play in the college ranks. The team left a huge legacy but also a giant target on the program’s back.
“We aren’t creeping up on anybody this year,” Tindle said. “There are pros and cons to being the hunted versus the hunter. The break- through took a lot of time and we went through so much adversity, but it was worth it. Now, we go back to work.”
The storybook ending for the Highlanders went like this ... The Class of 2018 lost in the state finals as freshmen on the same field in Austin.
“It was surreal that we won it on the same field that eight of those guys lost on four years earlier,” Tindle said. “Then we went through the toughest draw, having to beat three Dallas-area teams. We were also coming off Hurricane Harvey that set everyone back. It couldn’t have been a better time for us to win it.”
Coaches would say that winning a state title validates their program like nothing else.
It makes going to practice and workouts easier, and the coach’s voice can be heard louder and clearer.
“Let’s just say that everyone from our first-graders to seniors in high school have a pep in their step,” Tindle laughs. “From players to parents, everyone has a little different walk. I think the lacrosse community in Houston feels the same way too.”
Back in the fold are all-staters Jason Kroslowitz in goal and Diego Zimmerman in the middle. All-district returner Ben Langston will also lead the 2019 squad along with Sam Sullivan, Dylan Binney, Ryan Farquhar, Gabe Coates, Matthew Nunes, James Pendley and move-in Scyler Merriman.
So, who will challenge the defending state champs?
The St. John’s Mavs return a ton of talent from a team that reached the Super Regionals. They fell to eventual state finalist St. Mark's, but bring back Ashton Anton, Austin Beebe, Peter Cannon and Cameron Howley.
Other teams to watch includeKinkaid, Memorial and Strake Jesuit in DI. Jacob Magelssen and CC Jeffers will lead Kinkaid, while Jace Johnson carries the torch for Strake Jesuit. Jacob Maddox and Jax Rawlinson will put Memorial in the state conversation.
While these teams battle each other in the high school ranks, several of Houston’s finest just won the Adrenaline Challenge’s 2020 Division in California with the Ironhorse HTX select squad in January.
It was a combination of Houston- area athletes who took on power programs around the nation. Platt and Tindle coached the local all- star group.
“It puts Houston back on the map as an emerging hot-bed of talent,” Tindle said. “It’s just another example that Houston is on the map.
The numbers are growing as well.
“Dallas has run the show for a decade, but as far as growth, Houston is growing much faster right now,” EJ Neese, Sports Star Athletics director of lacrosse said. “Kids who play football are loving lacrosse. Instead of banging heads every play, kids are able to be physical and show their athleticism in a very fluid sport.
“The coaching is getting much better and Houston is coming.”
This article appears in the January 2019 Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!